Bank of America announced a new multimillion dollar jobs initiative Nov. 19 to help students of color complete the education and training necessary to be successful in today’s workforce.
The initiative is part of the bank’s commitment to advancing racial equality and economic opportunity and builds on Bank of America’s ongoing work in Texas to address the underlying issues facing individuals and communities of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the current health crisis, the bank said in the announcement.
“Advancing economic mobility through education and workforce training is a priority for Bank of America in Texas and across the country,” said Jennifer Chandler, Dallas market president for Bank of America. “Creating meaningful career opportunities that include a pathway to reducing student debt, obtaining health care and retirement benefits will ultimately help Black and Hispanic-Latino students build net worth, help their families, and have ripple effects across our communities and greater economy.”
Dallas College-El Centro Campus and Prairie View A&M University are each receiving $1 million as part of the bank’s $25 million, nationwide initiative with partnerships at 21 higher education institutions, including community colleges, historically Black colleges and universities and Hispanic-serving institutions.
Also receiving funds are the University of Texas at Arlington, Texas Christian University and the University of North Texas.
Bank of America is also partnering with and providing funding to the Aspen Institute to convene the participating higher education institutions for technical and programmatic assistance and to share best practices.
“The current times have been very challenging and disruptive for our students, often causing them to question whether they can continue their studies,” said Dr. Ruth Simmons, president, Prairie View A&M University. “Efforts by Bank of America to encourage their persistence and ambition are very much needed and will create a pathway for many to remain enrolled and complete their education. We are grateful for the timeliness and generosity of these actions.”
Other funding in Texas went to Alamo Colleges/St. Philip’s Campus, Huston-Tillotson University, St. Edward’s University, Texas Southern University and the University of Texas at Austin.
The announced funding is in addition to the $15 million in philanthropic grants Bank of America has made to support education and workforce development in Texas over the past five years.
Today, less than 40% of community college students earn a certificate or degree within six years of enrollment, the news release said.
For students of color, graduation and completion rates are particularly low – 28.8% for Black students and 37.1% for Hispanic students. 2 The ongoing challenges stemming from the coronavirus have exacerbated the financial struggle of historically Black colleges and universities and Hispanic-serving institutions as they seek to serve students from the most vulnerable communities, the bank said.
Bank of America will work alongside other major employers in Texas to ensure these programs target the region’s specific hiring needs that will help Texan businesses grow and create clearly defined career pathways to future employment.
The initiative is part of the bank’s recent $1 billion, four-year commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity, and its $25 million commitment to enhance up-skilling and reskilling for Black and Hispanic-Latino individuals.